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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Unwritten Law of Engineering

Via great-as-always Raven’s site I found 33 unwritten rules of engineering posted by Jack Dahlgren. You can find full list on both sites and I encourage you to read it. For me the greatest gem there is the last one, which gives quite a general view at projects:

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, an amateur built an ark that survived a flood while a large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Actually I wouldn’t bet Noah’s Arc would excel in its virgin voyage while Titanic would fail, but we all know how those stories ended. Sure, Noah used some help of God and Titanic was pretty out of luck, but that’s nothing we can control in our projects anyway.

Few advices come to my mind basing on the example:

1. If you believe in whatever you’re doing you raise your chances. Yeah, you can raise them from 0% to 5% but that’s still better than nothing.

2. Don’t be afraid of really big goals. Don’t run away screaming when someone gives you a very ambitious task. Consider that more like a chance than a doom. That one I have to put into my head repeatedly by the way.

3. Even a great engineering team can produce some crap from time to time.

4. Even when they don’t, users will find a way to screw everything up.

5. Don’t put money against Noah. You’ll lose.

in: software business

2 comments… add one

  • Raven Young December 3, 2008, 1:06 pm

    Hi Pawel – I too found great insights in this list of unwritten rules. I found your perspectives interesting and agree that we should never shy away from the big goals and do our best to tackle those ambitious tasks.

  • Pawel Brodzinski December 3, 2008, 1:32 pm

    Our work can’t be put in schemas which always work. There’s always something unexpected. Nice thing about the example is that ambiguity of our work can result with stunning success of amateurs trying hard enough to complete amituous task while experienced team can fail even when they follow their standard plan.

    And that encourages me to try something big.

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